The Life of Duncan

"Personal Purity, Family Unity, Selfless Service"

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Sledding on New Year’s Eve

Dad and I had a blast bringing the 3 older kids (Madelyn, Chloe and Ian) sledding over at ISU while Gina, Mom and Hannah took Charlotte and Moses to Costco.

Here’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to remember Dad in his full energy – sledding down the hill! ¬†ūüôā ¬†Love you dad!

Hannah and her kids went home around 5:30 or so.  It was really nice to visit with her and spend time as family!

In the evening, after putting the girls (Chloe and Charlotte) to bed we had shrimp, chips, veggies and dip while watching a¬†German¬†news television station that mom and dad get up there in Pocatello. ¬†Pretty interesting piece¬†on an artist who committed art fraud and was sentenced to 6 years in prison. ¬†Stuff you don’t hear on the news here in UT :).

After this we just spend some time reading and meditating.  Very nice day all around!

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Fun in Poky

Hannah reading to Charlo.

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Ayuh.

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Gina and the cousins.

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Little Moses.

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Hannah?

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Funny Chloe!!

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Pic of Gina taking pics.

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And of course my cute cheerleader ;). MPWA!

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Pocatello Visit

Great to get away from Utah once in a while and visit my folks (the girls call them “Mamere” & “Papa Paul”) in Pocatello, ID.

Nice relaxing evening.

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Tricks on the Tramp

Okay so here’s a question that I don’t yet have the answer to regarding the dating of my blog posts. ¬†I’d love your response:

Q. ¬†I was originally thinking that my blog posts should be dated based on the day that the events actually happened. ¬†But more often than not I’m writing about what happened yesterday. ¬†So here’s the question: should I date the blog posts the day I actually write them and then refer to the information in past tense, or date the blog post as of the day it happened and then talk about things in present tense?

Hmmm, the dilemmas of life. ¬† I’d love your input – thanks in advance!

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When I asked Chloe what we did today she said:

“We did jump on the trampoline. ¬†We put together the Winnie the Pooh puzzle. ¬†We went sledding. ¬†And we played the memory game!” ¬†Aah, these are the beautiful memories these girls have. ¬†Blessed

Chloe’s special jumping trick; she calls it her “so-TAY”.

Charlotte’s special trick on the trampoline (she’s gotta have one too you know).

These little videos are precious, but probably mostly to me and Gina and the girls’ grandparents! ¬†Fun to keep everyone updated on our comings and goings, thoughts and feelings. ¬†We are certainly blessed!

I was blessed to go serve at the BYU meeting of the LDS 12-step Addiction Recovery Program tonight at 7:30. ¬†Gina’s a wonder woman to let me serve so much during this Christmas holiday season.

Day After Christmas – the tramp(oline)

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I’m not an uncaring Daddy…

Christmas Day

Gina and I got to bed at 2 am after helping Santa put together a new trampoline for the girls. It was too big to fit down the chimney, so we pitched in.

This was the most exciting Christmas I can remember (especially as an adult). It was a blast to see the girls’ excitement. Matter of fact Chloe said our family prayer and we wrote it down afterward (I know maybe a bit unorthodox, but hey these times just don’t come around every day!)

Chloe’s Christmas Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I’m so excited about Christmas. That’s why we only watch Christmas Kid Histories. We’re thankful for our beautiful presents. Please bless Papa to feel better on Christmas. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

So sweet!

We went to Grammy and Papa (Brown’s) this afternoon. I got a nice AAA car kit (with jumper cables!)

AAA roadside kit

As well as a 5 gal tub (45 lbs!) of POPCORN!!! Yay! (my favorite nighttime snack!) That’ll last me a little while.

a lot of pop corn

In the evening I had the opportunity to go served at a 12-step meeting. We were about to leave ’cause no one was there but us missionaries, but just minutes before we were planning on leaving we had one brother show up. It was such a spiritual meeting! So thankful for the true Spirit of Christmas!

A few fun Christmas pics Gina took (she’s the real photographer in our fam!)

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45lbs of popcorn…HEAVEN for the next year!!

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Christmas Eve

The song says, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” Well, no dreaming here, it’s the real deal!

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What makes it even sweeter is the lowest gas prices we’ve seen for…years?!

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We attended a candlelight Christmas service at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in SLC. Our friends, the Chamberlins, did their 12th annual Christmas concert, and then there was a beautiful service.

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When we came out of the building (around 7:30pm) another woman was coming out at the same time started screaming and and yelling when she got to her car. It had been vandalized, window smashed in, and all her stuff was stolen; iPad, stuff from her glove box, and all of the Christmas presents that she had purchased and wrapped for friends and family from the back of her car. Se was hysterical (wouldn’t you be?) On Christmas eve…what a terrible feeling. Fortunately her parents were still there and were able to console her and help call the police.

The amazing thing is that I had left my coat in the car that had both my wallet and our car keys!! That could have as easily been our vehicle broken into, or worse yet, completely stolen. We really feel we were protected as we had actually felt impressed to move the car into the visitor spot closer to the church. We had originally parked just a couple cars away from the one broken into. Thank you!

Since we were in Salt Lake we looked for a place to eat (even Wendy’s was closed :)!). We did find an open Panda Express though we’re we had our Christmas Eve dinner. The girls called it the Po Place (reference: Kung Fu Panda). Fun times!!

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These Are The Days!

These are once in a lifetime opportunities, these girls will never be this age again!
We are carpe diem-ing(?)!

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Charlotte napping after church on the couch…yay!

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Charlotte and her kitty, Ashes ūüôā

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Dream Board w/ Affirmations

Dream Board

This is a picture of the dream board we have on our wall. ¬†Actually there’s been one change. ¬†Gina wanted me to take down the BMW X5 which I had originally intended for her. ¬†But I’m going to keep it up here anyway at least on the blog :).

I am so thankful for these gifts and blessings that simply come to us!  We are so grateful for the worthy and exciting projects and people which came along to make it possible for us to achieve all of these dreams and more.  We feel so blessed and humbled to always have more than enough money and time to live very fun lives and give to many important causes in our local community and around the world.

Important People Listen to Me I am Important and Worthy of Respect

Flash Point #1 of 7 (…or 8)

Have you ever asked yourself these kinds of questions before?

  • What is my mission in this life?
  • What is the best way FOR ME to make money, provide for my family, and serve others?
  • Is there a way to connect service and financial prosperity? If so, what is it?
  • If we all have 24 hours in a day, how is it that some people are able to live a wealthy life-style with what seems like plenty of time and money, while most people (98%+) work hard to achieve mediocre results at best?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions then you’re in good company. My company!

My purpose in writing this is to share with you the different ways that I have done business along with their pros and their cons. And also to put down in writing the characteristics of what I might consider the ideal career. (Is it even okay to dream of such an ideal career?…) I’m going to assume it is and hereby list some of those characteristics:

  • a line of work for which I have a natural ability and passion
  • very high income potential (preferably no ceiling)
  • income can continue even if I can’t or don’t want to work
  • high flexibility of schedule
  • few/no employees but ability to collaborate frequently with like-minded entrepreneurs
  • little to no overhead/ability to work from anywhere
  • allows me to provide the month to month income that covers my family’s needs/wants
  • ability provide a positive impact on people in my local community and throughout the world

Is this asking for too much? I pray that my will may be in alignment with that of my Father.

I want to lay some important ground work and share with you the beginning of my professional development. It will illustrate the most important aspect of why I have sought to make any changes to begin with – MY WHY. To do so I will take you through various different FLASH POINTS, or paradigm shifts, in my life. These flash points will take up a number of blog posts (maybe 7 or 8) starting with this one.

Flash Point #1: W-2 employment – “That’s What My Future Holds?!”

Like many of us, I started out in high school working as a grocery store clerk, bagging groceries, collecting carts from the parking lot, and eventually graduated to scanning groceries and collecting money. Later on, during my college career, I worked as a janitor, then as a Resident Assistant in the dorms, then as a Carillonneur (yes, actually playing the bells), and then finally as an organ builder at M.L. Bigelow & Co. I’m proud of the work I did during these years – it still provides me with many good memories, like the wood carvings I did. I’ll never forget the confidence that Mike Bigelow must have had in me when he handed over his carving tools. (1st carvings HERE, last carvings HERE). I loved working together with others, each participating in creating a tangible thing – a work of art, a masterpiece. I love the lifelong friendships I forged during the 2 1/2 years I worked at Bigelow’s.

But there came a point, in early 2003, when I got a pay raise from $9/hr to $9.23/hr. I did a quick calculation and realized that if I continued working there for the next 15-20 years then I’d probably end up getting paid about the same as those who had worked there for the previous 15-20 years (somewhere around $14-15/hr…after 15 years of working!). In all honesty I don’t know what everyone else got paid but let’s round up and say it was $20/hr. That’s only $40,000/yr before taxes! That was such a startling realization, a FLASH POINT if you will, that I quit within two weeks and started my own piano tuning business quickly doubling my income and managing my own schedule. I’ll get more into that in my next blog post, but for now let’s sum up what I’ve seen as some of the pros/cons of W-2 employment:

Pros: This is where most people create their living, their savings, and their retirement. They enjoy 1. Regular, predictable work schedule (which is conducive to family life). 2. Regular, predictable pay (makes budgeting simple). 3. Benefits package which hopefully includes some, if not all, of the following: health, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with a match. 4. In some instances (i.e. school teachers, military, firefighters, etc.) you’ll even have a additional pension on top of your retirement contributions (for those just entering the work force, however, these are less and less common).

Cons: There are also reasons why some people often feel discouraged in this position. 1. They are constantly at risk of being fired. Most companies go through restructuring, which may mean that you are let go. Sometimes this happens multiple times throughout ones’ working life. 2. Many people on this path feel like their time is not their own. 3. Someone else (their boss) determines their financial worth. 4. There is a definite ceiling of income. 5. You’re making someone else rich instead of yourself.

In the next blog posts I’m going to share with you my experience of being self-employed as a piano technician, real estate investor, as well as having built a life insurance practice. Be sure I will share with you their pros and cons. All in an effort to hopefully save you valuable time.

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